Draghi starts talks with parties

(ANSA) – ROME, FEB 4 – Premier-designate Mario Draghi will start talks with Italy’s political parties on Thursday in the Lower House after the former head of the European Central Bank (ECB) was handed a mandate by President Sergio Mattarella to try and form a new government.
    Outgoing Premier Giuseppe Conte quit last week after the centrist Italia Viva (IV) party pulled its support for his executive, depriving it of a majority in the Senate.
    Mattarella, who as president is the arbiter of Italian politics, on Tuesday called on the parties in parliament to get behind a high-profile non-political executive after efforts to patch up the alliance that had backed Conte’s government failed.
    Draghi, who said Wednesday that his priorities will be defeating the COVID-19 pandemic and “relaunching” the country, must now see if an eventual government led by him will have a working majority in parliament.
    The consultations with the parties are expected to last a couple of days.
    It is not certain that a Draghi government would be able to enjoy a comfortable majority.
    Ex-premier and IV leader Matteo Renzi has welcomed the decision to give Draghi a mandate.
    Two other parties in what was the ruling alliance, the centre-left Democratic Party (PC) and the left-wing LeU group, may well back it too.
    But the other former coalition partner, the 5-Star Movement (M5S), has said it wants a “political” executive.
    There is also speculation that the divisions within the M5S could lead to a full-blown split.
    League leader Matteo Salvini, whose party is top in the polls and is the driving force of the centre-right opposition, has indicated he could give some support to a Draghi government as long as it is for a limited period of time and the nation has early elections in the near future.
    Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right Forza Italia (FI) also appears ready to cooperate with Draghi.
    But the right-wing Brothers of Italy (FdI) has reiterated that it wants elections as soon as possible.
    Draghi envisions a cabinet made up of non-political technocrats like himself, sources said.
    But the parties of the former ruling coalition are reportedly pushing for a cabinet made of a mix of experts and political figures. (ANSA).


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